Revelations that Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile received questions to a debate and a town hall event as a CNN contributor — then passed them on to Hillary Clinton’s aides — further fueled Donald Trump’s argument that the system is rigged and the former secretary of state is dishonest, according to veteran campaign watchers.
“Trump has stressed over and over again that the press is not just biased, but that parts of it have become effectively adjuncts of the Democratic Party,” said Boston College political science professor Dennis Hale. “This certainly feeds that story.”
Brazile’s Oct. 14 formal resignation from CNN — where she had been put on leave since she was named interim DNC chair last summer — was announced only yesterday after a second email released by WikiLeaks appeared to show her sending another question to the Clinton team in advance of a network-sponsored town hall debate during the Democratic primary. Brazile was caught last month alerting the Clinton campaign to a potentially troublesome question about the death penalty prior to another CNN town hall event.
The latest email from Brazile was sent to Clinton aides John Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri on March 5 — just one day before a town hall-style debate with Bernie Sanders in Flint, Mich.
“One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash,” Brazile wrote in the subject line.
The body of the email read: “Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint.”
Sure enough, the next night, a mother from Flint, LeeAnne Walters, whose children had stopped growing and lost hair, asked about removing lead service lines.
Last month, a different email from Brazile surfaced that was sent the night before a March 13 CNN town hall event in Ohio, co-sponsored by TVOne. That subject line read: “From time to time I get the questions in advance.”
Brazile, again writing to Podesta and Palmieri, sent along the text from a question “that worries me about HRC” — relating to the death penalty.
The next night, a questioner indeed asked Clinton about capital punishment.
Politico reported last month that Roland Martin of TVOne, a co-moderator of the Ohio debate, sent an email to CNN producers with the exact language of the question Brazile had sent to the Clinton campaign.
CNN in a statement yesterday insisted it never gave Brazile “access to any questions, prep material, attendee list, background information or meetings” ahead of time, but admitted it is “completely uncomfortable” with the revelations.
Trump, holding rallies across Michigan yesterday, tried to pin the blame for Brazile’s emails on Clinton and blasted journalists for failing to question her integrity.
“Hillary Clinton gets the questions to a debate — that’s a big deal — and then what happens is the media, they never say, ‘Why didn’t you turn it in? Why did you use those questions?’ ” Trump said at a rally.
“You know, I have a son named Barron and I want to tell you — she’s a terrible example for my son and for the children in this country,” the GOP nominee said.
The leaked Brazile emails have been largely overshadowed by bombshell revelations that the FBI is now probing other emails from Clinton’s private server that were apparently found on a laptop used by longtime adviser Huma Abedin and her disgraced, estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
But the Brazile flap adds more juicy fodder for Trump on the campaign trail, according to Thomas Whalen, a political science professor at Boston University.
“It seizes the narrative that she’s not on the up and up,” Whalen said. “For the Trump folks, this is another log for the fire. Hopefully for them, it’s going to burn all the way to November 8th.”
(c)2016 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.